I just finished reading A Landing on the Sun by Michael Frayn. I’m not really sure why the book is thusly named unless the sun is a metaphor for happiness. I found it a really slow read at first and a little hard for me to get into but I continued on in the hopes that it would get better. Fortunately for me, it did.
The whole subject of happiness definitely falls into my wheelhouse these days and what I enjoyed about this book was that is was a fictional story where two of the characters were actually exploring the concept of happiness itself and in turn, trying to define it. It was nice to read something on happiness with an actual story as opposed to the self-help, non-fictional type of book.
I did get a couple of gems out of it that I wanted to write down, so of course, I figured that here would be the best place for that:
- You can be happier without being happy
- Freedom from negative reaction is what people often perceive as being happy
- The dullness of routine causes unhappiness
- Happiness is being where you are and not wanting to be somewhere else
- Happiness can exist in recollection, anticipation and the present
These 5 points really caught my interest.
You CAN be happier without being happy overall. Happier is a pretty vague term, one can be happier than their previous state of miserable but that still may not mean one is happy in life.
Being happy is often perceived as the absence of misery, but I think happiness should be more than that. It should be hope and joy and enthusiasm all rolled into one.
As for the dullness of routine, does it cause unhappiness? Perhaps it can, but perhaps it only indicates dullness. Life is for living so don’t forget to get out there and live it.
Happiness really is about wanting what you have and being present to enjoy it.
And the most interesting one for me, since I have been trying to focus more on living in the present, happiness can also exist in the recollection of a fond memory and in anticipation of an upcoming event.
What are your thoughts on these 5 points? Do any of them ring true for you or do you think any of them are way off base? I’d love to hear your opinion.